Sunday, July 03, 2005

Adventures in Wyoming.

Yesterday I and several other novices from across the Assistancy made a day trip to a place most of us (including myself) had never so much as laid eyes on: Wyoming. Our stops in Cheyenne and Laramie provided a very positive first impression of the Cowboy State. What I saw of Wyoming yesterday (admittedly very little) suggested a place unlike anywhere I've ever visited, and certainly much different from our summer digs in Colorado. Wyoming's physical landscape, dominated by rolling, treeless plains and jagged rock formations, offers an intriguing contrast with the rather more alpine habitat of metro Denver. Wyoming's sparse population gives the state an appealingly empty, wide-open feel - even in urban areas.

State capital Cheyenne is home to about 54,000 people and feels smaller; you could count on one hand the number of people we saw while we ate lunch on a park bench in front of the Wyoming State Capitol. After lunch we made stops at the Wyoming State Museum and the fully restored 19th century Governor's Mansion as well as the downtown business district; in the process we ran into a number of friendly locals, all of whom were curious to know where we were from and what we were up to. Usually we offered evasive replies to the latter question, saying that we were "studying in Denver," but our interlocutors invariably pressed us for more information - and expressed uniform delight when they found out we were studying to be priests.

After getting a vivid sense of Cheyenne, we drove about fifty miles to the next city - college town Laramie. With a population of 27,000, Laramie seems to be dominated by the sprawling University of Wyoming campus, where we walked around and took pictures. We also stopped for drinks at a Laramie bar and micro-brew known as The Library (a name I've seen attached to other college town watering holes), an invitingly cool place to relax on a hot summer afternoon. Speaking more generally, Wyoming struck me as a fine place to visit and a state I'd love to return to. If you've never been there and are looking for a very different vacation spot, you may want to check it out too. AMDG.


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